Each year since 2009, Viaje Cigars has released a seasonal cigar for the Christmas season known as the Viaje Holiday Blend. Over the years, this has become one of Viaje’s most popular seasonal small batch releases. Like many of Viaje’s lines, brand owner Andre Farkas has introduced several variations and permutations of the line. As a result, there have been several variations of the Holiday Blend releases. These have included the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane (Barber Pole), Viaje Holiday Blend Christmas Tree (Short Torpedo), and those simply dubbed the Viaje Holiday Blend. Looking at the classic Viaje Holiday Blend releases, these have seen a variety of blends, sizes, and formats over the years. Today we will look at the 2016 installment of the Viaje Holiday Blend dubbed the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016. It’s probably the most different cigar when compared to all of the Viaje Holiday Blends released to this date.
For those keeping score, here is the complete list of Viaje Holiday Blend offerings since 2009.
- 2009: Viaje Holiday Blend 2009 (Robusto)
- 2010: Viaje Holiday Blend 2010 (Short Torpedo and Petit Robusto)
- 2011: Viaje Holiday Blend 2011 (Petit Robusto and Torpedo)
- 2012: Viaje Holiday Blend 2012 (Petit Robusto) and Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane 2012 (Toro)
- 2013: Viaje Holiday Blend Christmas Tree 2013 (Short Torpedo)
- 2014: Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 (Petit Gordo) and Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane 2014 (Toro)
- 2015: Viaje Holiday Blend 2015 (Box Press Robusto) and Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2015 (Box Press Toro)
- 2016: Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 (Gordo) and Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 (Box Press Toro)
- 2017: Viaje Holiday Blend Christmas Tree 2017 (Short Torpedo)
For those dubbed simply the “Viaje Holiday Blend” released from 2009 to 2014, this cigar was a Nicaraguan puro consisting of a Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper. In 2015, Viaje produced the classic Holiday Blend at the PDR Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic using Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. Things changed again in 2016 with the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016. This cigar would bring a lighter colored wrapper in a 5 x 58 size.
Typically, releases dubbed “Edición Limitada” are some of Viaje’s more limited releases that may consist of a special size or even a wrapper change. As we will see for the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada, many of the details have not been disclosed. It could be the 5 x 58 Gordo size that has earned this designation – or it could also be the lighter wrapper. In general, brand owner Andre Farkas likes to keep an element of mystery with his releases.
Without further ado, let’s explore the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limiteda 2016 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Other than the fact that the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 features a lighter colored wrapper, much of the details of this blend are not known.
Wrapper: Not Disclosed
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
While in the past some of the Viaje Holiday Blend blends have been released in multiple sizes Edición Limitada 2016 features only a single size, a Gordo measuring 5 x 58.
One other big change with the Holiday Blend 2016 is it is being shipped in 25-count bundles. While the Candy Cane release has appeared in bundles, it’s the first time the classic Holiday Blend has utilized bundles.
As I mentioned, the most striking feature of the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 is that it features a lighter colored wrapper than the other Holiday Blend installments. This wrapper has medium brown color with a rosado tint to it. I didn’t find much in the way of oil on the surface of this cigar. Overall, this was a smooth wrapper. While most of the wrapper seams were minimized, there still were some visible veins.
There are two bands on the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016. The primary band is the same as the previous Viaje Holiday Blend ones – olive green and silver in color. It features “Viaje” in large classic silver font on an olive background. Below that text is the text “Holiday Blend” in olive font on a silver background. That silver background is situated below the olive background on the band.
The secondary band is located just below the primary band. This band features the text “Edicion Limitada” in maroon color on a silver background. There are two thin maroon pinstripes above and below the text. There are thicker maroon pinstripes across the top and bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I opted to place a straight cut to remove the cap of the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016. After clipping the cap I proceeded with the pre-light draw. Overall the dry draw delivered notes of bread, earth, and baker’s spice. Overall this was an excellent pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to toast the foot of the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 and move into the smoking stage.
Out of the gate, the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 delivered a mix of bread, sweet natural tobacco, mixed fruit, and green pepper. Early on the fruit notes moved to the forefront. These notes also had a caramel component resulting in a nice sweetness. The bread, natural tobacco and green pepper notes settled in the background and nicely balanced the sweetness. Meanwhile, there was a combination of mixed pepper and baker’s spice on the retro-hale.
Throughout the second third, the bread notes started to make their way into the forefront. There also were some earthy notes that surfaced as a primary note. By the midway point, the earth and bread notes were grounded in the forefront. As the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 moved into the latter part of the second third, some black pepper joined the fruit, caramel, natural tobacco, and green pepper in the background.
The last third didn’t see much in the way of change flavor-wise. There was still a combination of earth and bread in the forefront complemented by natural tobacco, fruit, caramel, and the combination of green and black pepper in the background. This is the way the flavor profile came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
Burn-wise, the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 performed quite well. For the most part, the cigar maintained a straight burn path and straight burn line. I also found this was a cigar that did not require a high amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was skewed toward the firmer side. The ash had a silver-gray color with some darker spots mixed in. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw of the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 performed extremely well. It had a touch of resistance – which is something that I like.
Strength and Body
Several of the iterations of the Viaje Holiday Blend series have been some of the boldest cigars offered by Viaje. With the lighter colored wrapper, I was expecting something more dialed back. While this was the case, I found this cigar still had a little more firepower than I thought. The Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 started out medium strength and medium-bodied. The body quickly progressed to medium to full in the middle of the first third. There was still a gradual increase in body along the way, but in the end, the cigar still remained medium to full.
Strength-wise, the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 gradually increased in strength and by the second half, it was in medium to full territory. The strength continued to build right until the end. The Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 is definitely one of those cigars where the strength sneaks up on you.
In terms of strength versus body, I found the body of the Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 had the edge in the first third. Both attributes were on an even playing field by the second third. The final third saw the strength have the edge.
For the most part, I have enjoyed the classic Viaje Holiday Blend releases. The Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 looks different – and I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy it. When I first lit it up, there was no doubt it was different. Even while the blend changed for the Viaje Holiday Blend 2015 edition when it was made at PDR, it still had many characteristics of the original Viaje Holiday Blends with the Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper. The Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 is a different animal, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s a very good cigar. It has a nice sweetness and spice to it. It had just the right amount of boldness – and it’s priced very well for a Viaje at $8.70. This is a cigar I would recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast, but wouldn’t discourage a novice from trying. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again and I would say is worthy of box purchase consideration.
Key Flavors: Earth, Bread, Natural Tobacco, Fruit, Caramel, Green Pepper, Black Pepper
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full(2nd Half)
Body: Medium (Start), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Value: Box Purchase Consideration
News: Viaje Holiday Blend Edición Limitada 2016 Coming This Month
Brand Reference: Viaje
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted